Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics

This book collects my main academic papers on the economics of immigration. Although economists showed little interest in immigration issues when I first began to work on this topic in the early 1980s, the literature has exploded since. The essays cover a wide range of topics: the assimilation of immigrants, the skill characteristics of the immigrant population, the intergenerational progress of immigrant households, the measurement of the impact of immigrants on the labor markets of receiving countries, and the calculation of the economic benefits from immigration. The Introduction recounts the personal and intellectual journey that led to the various research projects. These papers continue to be widely cited and have often set the research agenda for subsequent investigations of immigration in both receiving and sending countries.





I. Economic Assimilation

1. “Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants,” Journal of Labor Economics, October 1985.

2. “The Slowdown in the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants: Aging and Cohort Effects Revisited Again,” Journal of Human Capital, Winter 2015.


II. Self-Selection of Immigrants

3. “Self‑Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants,” American Economic Review, September 1987.

4. “Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign- Born” (with Bernt Bratsberg), Review of Economics and Statistics, February 1996.


III. Ethnic Capital

5. “Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 1992.

6. “Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities,” American Economic Review, June 1995.


IV. Labor Market Impact

7. “How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?” (with Richard B. Freeman and Lawrence F. Katz), Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 1997.

8. “The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 2003.

9. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration,” Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2006.

10. “The Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Productivity of American Mathematicians” (with Kirk B. Doran), Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 2012.

11. “The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: A Reappraisal,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, October 2017.


V. Economic Benefits

12. “The Economic Benefits from Immigration,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 1995.

13. “Does Immigration Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market?” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2001.